Polytechnic Council needs help: Murangi

21 August 2015 Author  

front 21  ita AugustMinister of Higher Education, Innovation and Training Ita Murangi-Kandjii says that ministers need to apply their minds when selecting council or board members of academic institutions.

 

She said this in an interview on Wednesday this week when she publicly spoke for the first time about the challenges facing her ministry.

Murangi-Kandjii said although the Polytechnic Council was functional it needed help.

Friction between some Polytechnic Council members and the Rector Tjama Tjivikua threatened to disrupt normal operations of the institution.

“As ministers we really need to ensure that we appoint critical thinkers and people who comprehend industry related issues, and can articulate themselves as board members for academic institutions.

“I’m not saying that the current board members are not, but as we continue to assess the situation we have detected the need to capacitate boards of tertiary institutions such as the University of Namibia and Polytechnic.

“There is no harm in constantly updating ourselves and equipping ourselves with the relevant tools to execute our respective duties to the best of our abilities,” she said.

The minister stressed that it is imperative that the Polytechnic Council elevates the institution’s status in light of its on-going transformation into the University of Science and Technology.

“We need people who can drive the process and make meaningful contributions towards the growth of tertiary institutions in the country. We need people who can have constructive debates and reach consensus,” she said.

The minister could not say how far the process to assess the capacity and capabilities of members of the Polytechnic Council had gone.

She however indicated that she had consulted with the Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste and they had agreed that they would have to maintain some form of continuity.

Just this week, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) cleared Tjivikua of all allegations of mismanagement of funds and favouritism brought against him some weeks back in the form of an anonymous letter.

After receiving the tip off, the ACC instructed the Polytechnic Council to carry out its own investigation into the allegations and then report its findings to the commission.

This week the Chairperson of the Council Evelyn Breuer wrote to the Director of the ACC Paulus Noa informing him that their investigation into the matter had exonerated Tjivikua.

The Namibia Training Authority (NTA) is yet another controversial public enterprise that falls under Murangi-Kandjii’s ministry.

The minister said she was in close contact with the NTA board with regards to the appointment of a new chief executive officer for the institution.

“When I took over this office, the term of the former CEO had almost come to an end even though she had been on suspension for some time.

“I met with her and she presented me with an entire file on the matter.

“I also met with the NTA board and from everything that was presented to me it appeared that everything that took place was above board, and we now have to ensure that we make the correct decisions moving forward,” she said.

She said it is crucial that the new CEO is made aware of his or her mandate and that of the institution.

The higher education minister also disclosed that her team met with minister Jooste and his team to consider which SOEs that fall under her ministry would be reincorporated into the structures of the ministry.

The first meeting took place on Wednesday this week, and Murangi-Kandjii remarked that they were still at the infancy stages of this process, which involved scrutinising the legislation that established and governed these institutions. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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